Necro-Politics

The notion of Necro-politics of Achille Mbembe indicates that the ultimate expression of sovereignty resides in a large degree, in the power and capacity to dictate who must live and who must die. To exercise sovereignty is to have control over death and life. It seems this power is more than the bio-power of Michel Foucault. It is a thanatocracy. It becomes close to what Jean-Paul Satre says when he spoke of the colonizers as becoming men by becoming violent. We seem to be finding a necro-politics growing in our society. The right-wing seems to be indicating that it has power over the life and death of the people. It seems that they do not regard the constitution that gives equal citizenship to all, especially minorities. They seem to have usurped the right of Indians to be citizens and have positioned themselves to make claims about who is to live and who is die as Indian.

This is a new order of power that takes pleasure is reducing minorities to bare life. We can hear the echoes of this desire to offer the minorities bare life in the unparliamentary barbs of the Chief Minister of Goa these days. We can see how his discourse betrays him and manifests a desire that wishes to divest the political status of Goan Christians. His discourse and that of the others belonging to the Hindutva bandwagon seem to stay outside the normal state of law and order. This is why while the constitution bestows the dignity of being a citizen of the country to every Indian, it is the Hindutva discourse that assigns bare life to the minorities. This is why we may say that politics has become a work of death. Some seem to be becoming subjects through the work of death. This is why Satrean colonial masters are back in our society. One seems to have to hate minorities, Muslims/ Christians/ Dalits/ tribals to be a good Hindu as well as an Indian. We seem to be taking up our self-creation through violence and hate of the other of the self. This means self-creation seems to require the destruction of its other. It sadly appears normal even when it directly violates the fundamental tenets of the constitution of our country.

The constitution embraces everyone, but necro-politics decides who belongs to the nation and who does not belong to the same. It is in this control of deciding who belongs to the nation and who does not belong to it vests the necro-power. This power requires performing a caesura of the nation. It really is dividing our nation. It is a technology of bio-power that is allied to the Nazi right to kill which then culminated in the ‘ final solution’. In the holocaust, they have the full blooming of necro-power. We can see seeds of necro-power growing in our country. We can already see how the existence of others and otherness is projected as a mortal threat that informs the belief ‘Hindus khatre mein hai’. In several ways, our society has become insensitive and is silently watching a section of its own citizenry declared as stateless people with whom one shares biology and kinship for generations down the centuries. One’s own are minoritized and disposed of as an enemy of the state. Killing the enemy of the state then is normalized and we have come to tolerate lynching and vandalism as legitimate ways of registering our protest. We have certainly stepped down into what may be called Kakistocracy. The silence of our PM in the context of Manipur violence demonstrates that necro-politics is ruling us.

The reigning cultural nationalism is not Indian enough. It is reductive and reduces all Indians to Hindus and by that token is not constitutional enough too. It wants a section of people to live non-synchronously thinking that after the colonization it is Hindu time. This sense of temporality breaks India. It pushes minorities outside its temporality and wishes them to be non-synchronic. It is a way that minorities are relegated in many ways to a form of death-in-life. This is why we need a new Upanisadic watershed. We need to reassert our belief in Vasudaiva Kutumbukam. We have closed ourselves to the Upanisadic dictum that prays ‘ let good thoughts come from all directions’ and become closed. Our infidelity to the Upanisads is glaringly visible. It is by returning to the Upanisads that we as Indians may be able to expand our embrace of everyone. Besides, a return to the Upanisads, we have the challenge to return to authentic dharmic thinking. The right wing that apparently masquerades as defenders of Indian civilization is ironically mimicking the colonizers. The colonizers had a civilizing mission. They had a language, a book and a religion. Today we can see the colonizer in the right-wing activists exhibit a civilizing mission, a new language, and official religious bonding in the right wing. With the blossoming of the right wing, colonization has reached its completion with the colonization of our mind. We, therefore, have the challenge, to choose decolonial options and embrace all otherness and diversity of our country without fear. Indian truly lives and breathes in its diversity and embracing it can strengthen India.

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Hate is not the first enemy of love.

Fear is! It destroys your ability to trust.

- Fr Victor Ferrao